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12. Such are the motives of injustice; let us now state the frame of mind of those who commit it, and who are the sufferers from it. Men do wrong when they think that it can be done and that it can be done by them; when they think that their action will either be undiscovered, or if discovered will remain unpunished; or if it is punished, that the punishment will be less than the profit to themselves or to those for whom they care. [2] As for the kind of things which seem possible or impossible, we will discuss them later,1 for these topics are common to all kinds of rhetoric. Now men who commit wrong think they are most likely to be able to do so with impunity, if they are eloquent, business-like, experienced in judicial trials, if they have many friends, and if they are wealthy. [3] They think there is the greatest chance of their being able to do so, if they themselves belong to the above classes; if not, if they have friends, servants, or accomplices who do; for thanks to these qualities they are able to commit wrong and to escape discovery and punishment. [4] Similarly, if they are friends of those who are being wronged, or of the judges; for friends are not on their guard against being wronged and, besides, they prefer reconciliation
to taking proceedings; and judges favor those whom they are fond of, and either let them off altogether or inflict a small penalty.

[5] Those are likely to remain undetected whose qualities are out of keeping with the charges, for instance, if a man wanting in physical strength were accused of assault and battery, or a poor and an ugly man2 of adultery. Also, if the acts are done quite openly and in sight of all; for they are not guarded against, because no one would think them possible. [6] Also, if they are so great and of such a nature that no one would even be likely to attempt them, for these also are not guarded against; for all guard against ordinary ailments and wrongs, but no one takes precautions against those ailments from which no one has ever yet suffered. [7] And those who have either no enemy at all or many; the former hope to escape notice because they are not watched, the latter do escape because they would not be thought likely to attack those who are on their guard and because they can defend themselves by the plea that they would never have attempted it. [8] And, those who have ways or places of concealment for stolen property, or abundant opportunities of disposing of it.3 And those who, even if they do not remain undetected, can get the trial set aside or put off, or corrupt the judges. And those who, if a fine be imposed, can get payment in full set aside or put off for a long time, or those who, owing to poverty, have nothing to lose. [9] And in cases where the profit is certain, large, or immediate, while the punishment is small, uncertain, or remote.
And where there can be no punishment equal to the advantages, as seems to be the case in a tyranny. [10] And when the unjust acts are real gains and the only punishment is disgrace; and when, on the contrary, the unjust acts tend to our credit, for instance, if one avenges father or mother, as was the case with Zeno,4 while the punishment only involves loss of money, exile, or something of the kind. For men do wrong from both these motives and in both these conditions of mind; but the persons are not the same, and their characters are exactly opposite.5 [11] And those who have often been undetected or have escaped punishment; and those who have often been unsuccessful; for in such cases, as in actual warfare, there are always men ready to return to the fight. [12] And all who hope for pleasure and profit at once, while the pain and the loss come later; such are the intemperate, intemperance being concerned with all things that men long for. [13] And when, on the contrary, the pain or the loss is immediate, while the pleasure and the profit are later and more lasting6; for temperate and wiser men pursue such aims. [14] And those who may possibly be thought to have acted by chance or from necessity, from some natural impulse or from habit, in a word, to have committed an error rather than a crime. [15] And those who hope to obtain indulgence; and all those who are in need, which is of two kinds;
for men either need what is necessary, as the poor, or what is superfluous, as the wealthy. [16] And those who are highly esteemed or held in great contempt; the former will not be suspected, the latter no more than they are already.

[17] In such a frame of mind men attempt to do wrong, and the objects of their wrongdoing are men and circumstances of the following kind.7 Those who possess what they themselves lack, things either necessary, or superfluous, or enjoyable; [18] both those who are far off and those who are near, for in the one case the gain is speedy, in the other reprisals are slow, as if, for instance, Greeks were to plunder Carthaginians.8 [19] And those who never take precautions and are never on their guard, but are confiding; for all these are easily taken unawares. And those who are indolent; for it requires a man who takes pains to prosecute. And those who are bashful; for they are not likely to fight about money. [20] And those who have often been wronged but have not prosecuted, being, as the proverb says, “Mysian booty.”9 [21] And those who have never, or those who have often, suffered wrong; for both are off their guard, the one because they have never yet been attacked, the others because they do not expect to be attacked again. [22] And those who have been slandered, or are easy to slander; for such men neither care to go to law, for fear of the judges, nor, if they do, can they convince them; to this class belong those who are exposed to hatred or envy.
[23] And those against whom the wrongdoer can pretend that either their ancestors, or themselves, or their friends, have either committed, or intended to commit, wrong either against himself, or his ancestors, or those for whom he has great regard; for, as the proverb says, “evil-doing only needs an excuse.” [24] And both enemies and friends; for it is easy to injure the latter, and pleasant to injure the former. And those who are friendless. And those who are unskilled in speech or action; for either they make no attempt to prosecute, or come to terms, or accomplish nothing. [25] And those to whom it is no advantage to waste time waiting for the verdict or damages, such as strangers or husbandmen; for they are ready to compromise on easy terms and to drop proceedings. [26] And those who have committed numerous wrongs, or such as those from which they themselves are suffering; for it seems almost an act of justice that a man should suffer a wrong such as he had been accustomed to make others suffer; if, for instance, one were to assault a man who was in the habit of outraging others.10 [27] And those who have already injured us, or intended, or intend, or are about to do so; for in such a case vengeance is both pleasant and honorable, and seems to be almost an act of justice. [28] And those whom we wrong11 in order to ingratiate ourselves with our friends, or persons whom we admire or love, or our masters, in a word, those by whom our life is ruled. [29] And those in reference to whom there is a chance of obtaining merciful consideration.12 And those against whom we have a complaint, or with whom we have had a previous difference, as Callippus acted in the matter of
Dion13; for in such cases it seems almost an act of justice. [30] And those who are going to be attacked by others, if we do not attack first, since it is no longer possible to deliberate; thus, Aenesidemus is said to have sent the prize in the game of cottabus to Gelon,14 who, having reduced a town to slavery, had anticipated him by doing what he had intended to do himself. [31] And those to whom, after having injured them, we shall be enabled to do many acts of justice, in the idea that it will he easy to repair the wrong; as Jason the Thessalian15 said one should sometimes commit injustice, in order to be able also to do justice often.

[32] Men are ready to commit wrongs which all or many are in the habit of committing, for they hope to be pardoned for their offences. [33] They steal objects that are easy to conceal; such are things that are quickly consumed, as eatables; things which can easily be changed in form or color or composition; [34] things for which there are many convenient hiding-places, such as those that are easy to carry or stow away in a corner; [35] those of which a thief already possesses a considerable number exactly similar or hard to distinguish. Or they commit wrongs which the victims are ashamed to disclose, such as outrages upon the women of their family, upon themselves, or upon their children. And all those wrongs in regard to which appeal to the law would create the appearance of litigiousness; such are wrongs which are unimportant or venial. These are nearly all the dispositions which induce men to commit wrong, the nature and motive of the wrongs, and the kind of persons who are the victims of wrong.

1 Book 2.19.

2 Two different persons. If the second be omitted, the reference is to one.

3 Or, a “resourceful mind.”

4 Who Zeno was, and what the story, is unknown.

5 Some do wrong for the sake of gain, others for the sake of praise; but the former sacrifice honor for self-interest, the latter self-interest for honor.

6 “More distant” (Jebb).

7 With a comma or colon after τὰ τοιαῦτα; without these render: “those who possess such things as they . . .”

8 Who were too far off to retaliate.

9 A proverb meaning “an easy prey.” The Mysians were regarded as cowardly and unwarlike.

10 αἰκία (assault) was a less serious offence than ὕβρις (wanton outrage).

11 οἷς i.e. supplying ἀδικουμένοις, “by whose being wronged.” οὓς has been suggested, i.e. supplying ἀδικοῦντες, “wronging whom.”

12 In our relations with whom, almost = from whom. Another interpretation is: “In reference to whom there is a chance . . . consideration from others, meaning the judges” (Welldon).

13 Callipus was a friend of Dion, who freed Syracuse from Dionysius the Younger. He afterwards accused Dion and contrived his murder. His excuse was that Dion knew what he intended to do, and would be likely to strike first, if he did not anticipate him.

14 Aenesidemus, tyrant of Leontini, being anticipated by Gelon, tyrant of Syracuse, in the enslavement of a neighboring state, sent him the cottabus prize, as a compliment for having “played the game” so skilfully. The cottabus was originally a Sicilian game.

15 Tyrant of Pherae.

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